The intestinal cancers include cancer of the colon and cancer of the rectum. These cancers have their origin in the glands of the inner surface of the intestine. They are the third most common cancers in Finland. The usual symptoms are changes in bowel function and, occasionally, there may be blood in the stools.
Intestinal cancers are usually diagnosed with sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. If the doctor doing the endoscopy sees a tumour, a biopsy analyzed by a pathologist is taken.
Intestinal cancer is cured by surgery. Colon cancer is treated with removal of the cancer tumour and a part of the intestine where the tumour is. Rectal cancer is often initially treated with radiation after which surgery to remove the tumour is performed. Often a colostomy is needed in the treatment of rectal cancer.
The colostomy may be temporary or permanent. After surgery, chemotherapy may be given to complement the treatment. The treatment plan is always individualized for each patient.